The European Electronic Communications Code updates and merges EU telecommunications rules under one regulatory framework designed to boost connectivity and better protect users throughout Europe.
Europeans need an internet connection that is fast and reliable to participate in the today’s economy and society. The European vision for the Digital Decade is that all citizens and businesses can leverage the digital transformation for a better and more prosperous life. By 2030, all EU households should have gigabit connectivity and all populated areas should be covered by 5G.
How does it work?
To advance these objectives and meet Europe’s growing connectivity needs, the European Electronic Communications Code lays out forward-looking and simplified rules that facilitate the provision of very high quality, secure, and affordable telecommunication services throughout Europe.
These rules are crucial for achieving Europe's connectivity targets and providing everyone in the EU the best possible internet connection, so they can participate fully in the digital economy.
The Code applies the same rules to all electronic communications services everywhere in the EU
Higher quality of services
The Code improves connection speeds and coverage by:
- making it more attractive for all companies to invest in new top-quality infrastructures, everywhere in the EU, both locally and across national borders
- making rules for co-investment more predictable and promoting risk sharing in the deployment of very high capacity networks, including 5G networks
- promoting sustainable competition for the benefit of consumers
Better consumer protection
The Code protects consumers irrespective of whether they communicate through traditional (calls, SMS) or web-based services by:
- ensuring that all consumers have access to affordable communications services, including adequate broadband internet access, for services such as eGovernment, online banking, and video calls
- giving equivalent access to communications for end-users with disabilities
- ensuring that international calls within the EU will not cost more than 19 cents per minute
- promoting tariff transparency and comparison of contractual offers, e.g. through contract summaries
- guaranteeing better security against hacking, malware, etc.
- protecting consumers subscribing to bundled service packages
- making it easier to change service provider and keep the same phone number, including rules for compensations if the process goes wrong or takes too long
- increasing protection of citizens in emergency situations, including retrieving more accurate caller location, broadening emergency communications to text messaging and video calls and establishing a system to transmit public warnings on mobile phones
Access to basic communication services is crucial to participate in today’s economy and society.
European electronic communications rules seek to make broadband internet access and voice communications affordable and available throughout Europe through effective competition and choice. Where the needs of consumers are not satisfactorily met by the market, universal service obligations ensure that affordable adequate services are available regardless of personal circumstances like location, income or disability. Broadband internet must have sufficient bandwidth for using important services such as eGovernment, internet banking, and standard quality video calls.
Implementation of the European Electronic Communications Code
Some Member States are still in the process of applying (transposing) the EU rules into national law, past the official deadline of December 21, 2020. In the two years since the adoption of the Code, the Commission has supported the Member States in the implementation process through review, guidance and reporting on a number of supporting measures. A Regulation on the contract summary template was adopted in 2019. Moreover, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has developed a significant number of guidelines, which aim to promote a consistent application of the Code and contribute to its successful implementation. The Commission will publish its first review of the functioning of the Code at the end of 2025 and follow up with a report every 5 years.